Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Some Nifty Cookbooks Worth Your Time

So I feel the need to share some cookbooks with you guys. A heads-up: I received copies of these books free of charge. However, I'm only writing reviews of them because I actually enjoy them and gleefully stained the heck out of many of their pages.

I'm not being paid to write these. I'm not so base as to do that.

These books rock because the authors put a lot of time and effort into developing quality books with a engaging narratives, capturing photography, and unique recipes. They're worth having for the stories and foods they share.

So let's move on...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Things You Will Never Hear a Sacramentan Say + Chai Thai Tea

 -Spicy, sweet goodness like this is needed in skin-melting Sacramento heat.-

Okay, for the non-Sacramentans this might be over your head. If you live here or have visited here then you get it. You just do. At the very least, tourists will have a heads-up.

Things you will never hear a Sacramentan say:

1: I have no opinion about the new Kings stadium.

2: We need another Korean restaurant on Folsom.

3: I found free parking in midtown!

4: I'm excited for the new frozen yogurt shop that opened.

5: I love how safe the Amtrak stations are.

6: I feel overwhelmed by the police presence in Arden.

7: 45th street is so god damn filthy.

8: What's crystal meth?

9: I volunteer regularly.

10: Local craft beer? I'm more of a PBR person.

11: There's so much to do here that I never go to The City.

12: I'm just not into Farm to Fork.

13: Yay August!

14: Let's take a walk around South Sac tonight.

15: If I do another half-marathon it will be the death of me.

16: Of course I own a tux.

17: There's no good Farmer's Market near me.

18: Bike friendly!

19: Who the fuck is Patrick Mulvaney?

20: I just don't get what people like about Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates.

21: Ugh, Moscow Mules.

22: Let me tell you my secret river spot.

23: I shouldn't have a second Thai iced tea.

24: The east coast can keep their ramps.

25: I understand the theory behind the I-80 and the Business 80.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Plated: Lemon Poppy Seed Shortcake with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream and Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote


Plated desserts are a thing for either the professional pastry chef or for the criminally insane home baker who has a day to fill. Having been both I generally understand the motivations.

When you work in a professional pastry kitchen you get a paycheck at the end of the day. Yes, that paycheck wouldn't cover the pound of vanilla beans the manager somehow found the cash for but you getting a $1.50 more an hour would be such fiscal lunacy that he'd rather burn the place down, but it's totally not about that. You get paid in satisfaction, pride in your work, and hopefully family meal in a kitchen that's cool sending fried chicken your way once in a while.

For the home cook it's about challenge, a day without errands pecking at your heels like angry hens, and a desire to recreate a cake you saw online but that will likely end up as a meme on the Cakewrecks fan page.

Of course, both require passion and dedication. Plated desserts require patience, planning, and so many bowls and spoons that you'll wonder why you didn't get an apartment with a dishwasher.

Lucky for me I have one, so if you don't then I guess it sucks to be you.

I also had a day to kill and a friend who insisted that we do a plated dessert because once these ideas spark in her head it's hard to put that brushfire out. So she put me to dancing my knife between piles of strawberries and stacks of rhubarb while she whisked out every lump in a pot of pastry cream that would feed fifty but only needed to feed two.

Shortcakes were made and dressed with lemon and freckles of poppy seed. Whipped cream was, oh yes, whipped by hand.

And so at the end of our afternoon we had the following: Lemon Poppy Seed Shortcake. Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream. Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote. Whipped Lavender Cream.

Proof that crazy can be a good thing.